Can Cows Eat Moldy Hay?

can cows eat moldy hay

Whether you are a farmer or a rancher, you must know the answer to the question “can cows eat moldy hay?” There are several reasons why it is important to keep the hay dry and drained, and you need to do all you can to prevent mold. If you can’t avoid mold in the hay, you can at least dilute the hay with a non-moldy feed. If you have to store the hay for a second year, then you need to make sure that you can keep it clean.

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Mycotic abortion

During the winter months, cows are highly exposed to moldy hay. This can cause abortions. Mycotic abortions are a reproductive problem that can affect up to 10% of the herd. However, this reproductive problem is rarely fatal.

The primary mold that causes mycotic abortion is Mucor. This fungus prefers wet conditions and grows well in humid settings. Molds that cause mycotic abortions can be found in hay, grain, and other wet byproducts.

Abortions due to Mucor are often sporadic. These abortions occur at about six to eight months of gestation. In a herd, one or two abortions can occur, but the percentage of herds with this problem is usually less than 10%.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis

During farming, cows often suffer from farmer’s lung (HP). This is a disease characterized by inflammation of the interstitium, terminal bronchioles and alveoli of the lung. HP is caused by an immune-mediated inflammatory reaction of the lung parenchyma to inhaled antigens. There are two main types of HP: acute and chronic.

In both types of HP, the inhaled antigens bind to IgG and trigger a cascade of events that leads to neutrophil infiltration and inflammatory reactions in the lungs. The result is an inflammatory response in the bronchioles and alveoli, as well as an immune complex that may lodge in the tissues.

Heaves and colic

Having your livestock fed moldy hay can be frustrating. It is important to remember that moldy hay can cause colic, reproductive tract problems, and respiratory problems.

Mold can be found on all types of hay. Hay with moisture levels of 14 to 15 percent is most susceptible. Hay can also be affected by adverse weather conditions, such as high humidity. When mold growth occurs, heat is produced which can cause spontaneous combustion. This heat can also result in large amounts of dry matter loss.

Moldy hay can also be a source of mycotoxins, which can cause respiratory and digestive problems in animals. Mycotoxins are produced by certain mold fungi. Some of these molds are Aspergillus, Fusarium, Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Alternaria.

Dilute with non-moldy feed

Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the harmful effects of moldy hay. One practical approach involves diluting moldy hay with other feeds. Another is to use preservative products to inhibit mold growth in future hay crops.

Moldy hay is unpalatable, and can cause problems such as respiratory illness and coughing. Some molds are capable of producing toxins that may affect an animal’s health.

Molds grow best in warm, humid conditions. When molds grow, they consume nutrients and carbohydrates, and denature protein. They also produce heat, which can cause spontaneous combustion and loss of dry matter. This heat can result in a significant loss of energy and carbohydrates.

Storing hay the second year after it is cut

During storage, hay loses a significant amount of dry matter. This includes fiber, sugars, and minerals. It is important to store hay in a dry, well ventilated area. This will ensure that nutrients remain intact.

Ideally, hay should be stored in an enclosed, dry barn. This will provide shelter from the weather, as well as prevent animals from damaging the hay.

It is also important to keep the hay clean. This will prevent the forced feeding of bad hay. Moldy hay can cause respiratory problems, digestive problems, and colic in horses. It is also a risk to people. Keeping the hay clean will prevent the build up of mold spores.